Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd. With the ideal of the recently founded Mother’s Day (1908) in her mind, she wanted to thank her father for all he had done for her and her family, horning him and other fathers the same way that Mother’s Day honored mothers. Her father, William Smart, raised six children alone after his wife died in childbirth. He was also a civil war veteran. Like many things-government, it took quite a while before this holiday was made official; it was 1966 when Pres. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.
As a kid I once heard someone speaking about “call(ing) no man father” from Matthew 23:9 and I must admit that it confused me for some time. So, I thought it well that we should go over this right away, before getting into the lesson proper. This verse does not forbid us to apply the term to our real father. God’s Word requires all proper honor to be shown to him, as is shown in Exodus 20:12, Matthew 15:4, and Ephesians 6:1-3, among other places. But the word “father” also symbolizes “authority, eminence, superiority, a right to command, and a claim to particular respect.” And it this way it is used in this verse. In this sense it belongs eminently to God, and it is not right to give it to people. Christians are equal; God only has supreme authority and He only has a right to give laws, to declare judgment, to mete out justice. The Jewish teachers desired that title because they seem to have supposed that a teacher formed the man, or gave him real life, and sought, therefore, to be called father. Christ taught them that the source of all life and truth was God, and they ought not to seek or receive a title which properly belongs to him. Now, on we go …
Scripture tells us that man/husband/father is the head of the household-
Eph 5:22-25 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. (25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Col 3:18-20 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. (19) Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. (20) Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
I think, too, that in the next few verses of chapter five of Ephesians make it clear that we are to honor each other, husbands and wives, and be partners in our marriages. Why do I start off by saying this? Because it is important to note that fathers and mothers have responsibilities, duties if you will, to their children and families. And some of what I will cover today will be duties of not just fathers but also of mothers.
Children also have duties or responsibilities toward their parents but that is another subject for another day.
Speaking of the Law- Deu 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Deu 6:20-21 And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you? (21) Then thou shalt say unto thy son, …..
From the very beginning, from the giving of the Law, God tells us we are responsible for teaching His Word to our children and families.
Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
It is curious that the Bible says “train” here, isn’t it? What does it mean to train? Let’s think of this example:
Fathers and mothers have the greatest opportunity as teachers of anyone in the world. You see, that boy or girl in the home has the chance to see if Father and Mother really believe and practice what they teach.
A father who says he believes in Sunday school, and then does not go himself, is teaching by his actions that he really does not feel it very important. A father who teaches love and tolerance to all and yet maintains a critical attitude in the home toward his brothers and sisters in the church is doing a wrong to his children which never in this world can be undone. It is pure poison to the mind of the child, and will most certainly be a stumbling block in the way of the child becoming a Christian.
A father who says he believes the Bible to be the greatest Book, to be God’s Word to us, but leaves it on the shelf to gather dust while he spends hours with the newspaper, magazines, radio and television is in reality saying, “Children, the Bible is not too important. You should read it if you have any extra time.”
Which one of you had not heard a little boy step proudly forward among his playmates and declare, “I KNOW that’s so because my Daddy said so!” He has confidence in you, dear Dad, and the things which he sees you put first in your life are going to stand out as mighty important to him, too. There any likelihood that such impressions shall ever be effaced, or that such habits shall ever be destroyed
To Provide for
2Co 12:14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
Paul was their spiritual father and does not, therefore, expect their material support but to give spiritual support to them. He also infers the parents’ duty to naturally support or provide for their children. The book of Proverbs also speaks to both the natural and spiritual duty to provide:
Pro 19:14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.
Pro 13:22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
Eph 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Literally, nourish them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. The mind is to be nourished with wholesome discipline and instruction, as the body is with proper food. “nurture” (G3809), discipline, may refer to all that knowledge which is proper for children, including elementary principles and rules for behavior, etc. “admonition” (G3559), instruction, may imply whatever is necessary to form the mind; to touch, regulate, and purify the passions; and necessarily includes the whole of religion. Both these should be administered in the Lord – according to his will and word, and in reference to his eternal glory. All the important lessons and doctrines being derived from his revelation, therefore they are called the discipline and instruction of the Lord. More simply put, we are to train nurture by chastening in act where needed and admonish by words whether of encouragement, or advice, or reprimand, according as is required.
Col 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. By constant fault-finding “children” are “discouraged” or “disheartened.”; it has been well said that “a broken-down spirit is fatal to a child”.
1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
1Ti 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
Ruleth, ruling — same Greek word (G4291), “presiding over.” Not with heavy-hand or iron fist, but, rather, like a judge keeps balance and order to his coutroom.
Tit 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
And what is love?
1Co 13:4-8 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, (5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; (6) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (7) Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (8) Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
I know that all of us weren’t/aren’t lucky enough to have/had a “good” father. I also know that we, as parents, have all failed at one time or another, to some degree, lesser or greater, no matter how hard we may try not to. Being imperfect, fallen creatures there is no way we can attain the lofty goals and hopes we have for ourselves as fathers and mothers.
I am thankful that God is our perfect, righteous, all loving Father.
Deu 1:31 And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.
2Co 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
And I am glad that our Heavenly Father loves us with that perfect love we can only strive to attain.
Let me leave you with this final thought:
Let’s suppose an artist sent you a picture of himself that he had painted. The picture would tell you something about him, give you a glimpse of his knowledge and ability. However, if he sent you a long descriptive letter explaining his innermost thoughts and feelings, you would begin to feel you really knew him. And finally, if he decided to send to you his son who possessed the same features as he and was like him in ability and character, this would reveal the father to you much better. “The only begotten son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).